Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Team Spirit

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Team Spirit

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Wilkinson

Emanuel Pogatetz has revealed that fellow central defender Jonathan Woodgate is not only a great teammate on the pitch, but off it as well.

Pogatetz has admitted that Woodgate took him to one side and told him, long before it became public knowledge, that he would be staying at the club.

So while the fans waited with bated breath to see whether Teessider Woodgate would commit his future to his home town club, his Austrian mate already knew.

"He told me a while ago, and said to keep it quiet, which I did - though I didn't know whether to believe him at first. It shows great team spirit that he kept me informed," said Pogatetz.

"It means a lot for the club and all the other players, for a player like him to stay. It was very important to keep him here.

"Jonathan has come here to achieve things in his career and that makes all the other players, especially the young ones, believe that this is the club to be with.

"And of course I am very pleased because when you play alongside him life is easy. It is much easier to defend alongside a player like him.

"It's very important for next season to have him here, because we must do a lot better next season."

Pogatetz is bitterly disappointed with the team's form over recent weeks - including last Saturday's 3-2 Riverside defeat to Spurs - and knows that results have to be a lot better next time around.

"If we played as well against Spurs and other teams as we did against Manchester United and Liverpool, we would have won a lot more games this season" was the player's frank assessment of the situation.

"We didn't start well against Spurs and I don't know why. We will have to have a look at it and sort out what it is about the Riverside, because away from home we start well."

And he stressed that when Boro are up against players of the class of Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov, it is doubly important to start well and maintain the tempo.

"If we start like we did and concede a goal, we have to come from behind, and that's very hard. If we have to attack to get back in the game, it leaves space.

"And when you give space to players like Berbatov to counter attack, it's just too difficult. He is on brilliant form and everything he does, he does well. He strikes the ball so well.

"His goal was sheer brilliance. I don't think as a defender you can do much about that, but we should have done better with our defending for the other two goals."

Pogatetz scored only his second goal of the season, but dismissed it as too little too late, adding that the goals didn't solve any of the problems Boro face in home games. …

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